Punters are packed in tight to experience Sleaford Mods’ first-ever Melbourne gig tonight and, trust us, you definitely wanna be within spitting distance of this dynamic electronic-punk duo from Nottingham.
Header photo and all included images: Carbie Warbie
Sleaford Mods are a bouncer’s dream – all they require is a microphone, a table for Andrew Fearn’s laptop and plenty of beer. Jason Williamson storms onto the stage wearing a black Burberry T-shirt and jeans, careening around the stage spitting, f-ing and blinding – for some reason “fook” and “coont” delivered in his East Midlands accent sound way less grating than the respective Aussie-enunciated versions of these swear words.
After pressing play on his laptop to trigger each track, Fearn steps aside and sidesteps rhythmically to the beat, nodding his head vigorously, one hand in his pocket and the other clasping one of the many tinnies he downs this evening. One of the many stickers that decorates Fearn’s laptop lid questions, “Why is cannabis still illegal?” another reads, “Working class electronics,” and a massive cartoon raised middle finger is also prominent in the mix. Fizzy – with its demented, carnivalesque beat – is an early highlight and Williamson’s rapidfire percussive delivery is a hoot to experience live. Kebab Spider (“Who knew they got the experts in?”) gets the front section lurching, but most watch in awe before applauding wildly at the conclusion of each song. “Still having a good time?” Williamson checks in on his audience with some regularity, before extolling towards set’s close, “Wow, you lot! You’re fookin’ something else, aren’t ya!?” before cheekily adding, “Who’s gonna give me a love bite?”
Just Like We Do (“Given half the chance you’d walk around like a twat just like we do”) is pure hilarity. Williamson’s one-man show in Stick In A Five And Go – during which he plays both the roles of perpetrator masquerading as postman and online troll about to have his head kicked in – is menacing; his physicality is off the charts and we’re immediately drawn into the world of said wolf in Royal Mail employee’s clothing attempting to gain entry into his victim’s home: “You need to sign for it, mate!”
Seriously, though, check out these Jolly F-cker lyrics! “Baa, baa, crack sheep, have you any rock?” Genius. The bass-driven peril of O.B.C.T is offset by some crazy kazoo. Williamson’s movement across the stage incorporates the occasional brief moonwalk or casual can-can: “There’s only one course/ Dis-course!” Crowd favourite Jobseeker showcases more of Williamson’s irresistible stereotype-characterisation and this crowd favourite closes out with an enthusiastic Bronx cheer from the lyricist. Williamson then jumps off the stage and into the photography pit to high-five front-row fans who have been screeching Sleaford Mods lyrics back in his face all night.
Williamson has said there was a time in his life when he only had enough money to buy a Mars bar and a can of Special Brew most days. He may live in a more affluent borough these days, but Williamson will always be a vitriolic gutter poet. Fearn’s nuanced beats are penetrating and grossly underrated. There’s exactly nothing tryhard about Sleaford Mods.